Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Family Gathering...

There are many Sundays, especially lately, when our family gets together for an afternoon of dinner, visiting and simply enjoying each other's company...even more so now than when the kids were small, since when a family lives together, they go their separate ways after gathering @ the table, but once they are "out of the house" they visit purposefully for hours.
This past Sunday, for example, I had not seen our grandson for two weeks ~ and I was in serious "Andrew-withdrawal"...with all the symptoms that go along with it. I finally got to hold him to my heart's content and I enjoyed every minute of it!
He is nearly crawling now; no longer does he use his head as a fifth limb, but he does scoot from his tiptoes, or he will drag himself on his tummy. Either way, he gets where he is going...I can see it's time to baby-proof the house!
It seems that Sundays are also the perfect excuse to break out my camera ~ new family poses come to the fore at every turn. There are many hams in this group, there is plenty of fodder for the camera's eye. 
Now that three of our children are out of the house, it seems that we look forward to Sundays more and more ~ it was never my favorite time of the week; after Mass, there was usually nothing too exciting to do. So, as a child, I found the greater part of the afternoon quite boring, actually.
But not anymore. 
It seems that the day is now filled with more than our share of excitement ~ with weekly "company" arriving and staying for hours at a time ~ and as they leave, I find myself wishing they could stay for just a bit longer.
When they were small, Sunday dinners were a bit more "gathered" than the rest of the week, but still there was that time afterwards when one or more would have someplace they had to be, someone they had to see...
Now, I find that our house is the place that they have to be, that we are the ones whom they have to see, and it makes me remember years past with my own parents and how I was always looking for a time to visit with them.
Now, my Dad is gone and my Mom is in a home, no longer remembering most of her own family members...Oh, she does remember years ago, but to remind her of what she did or who she saw last week or even yesterday, she will gaze at you with that "look" and tell you that she has never done such a thing! I don't think she remembers all the Sundays we gathered at her table and visited for hours on purpose.
I wonder how long it will be before I am in her place? Will I remember all the times I hugged my children "good-bye! See you soon"?!?
It is hard enough these days to remember, without feeling a teary-eye, all the times when they were small and a simple hug was a daily ritual...when I would read them stories, tuck them in and close the light, peek in just before turning in for the night myself, rolling over with a groan when they came running in at the crack of dawn and jumped on the bed, waking us up too early? 
How many times?!? I have no idea...I don't remember. I hope that I don't forget, however, that they did it in the first place.
And now, when I serve the vegetables at Sunday's family dinner, I am brought back to those days when just a couple of them (who shall remain nameless, lol) came up with the most brilliant schemes to get out of finishing their greens, just in time for ice cream! Of course, I would later find dried veggies stuck under their chairs or thrown away in the garbage when my back was turned.
I hope and pray that when I am in my mother's shoes I can remember would be a shame to miss the memory.
As I look around the house I see all kinds of artifacts that were left here by those who have created, gifted and moved on. 
I hope and pray that I will always remember who did what, who made what and who gave me what. That memory would also be sadly lost, if I did lose it.
Every time my family gathers for any reason, Sunday dinners being only one, I can feel the house picking up on the laughter, the tears, the hugs and kisses, and all the rest of the happy times ~ and sad ones, too ~ that are typically shared by a family that has been together for thirty years (and counting).
Yes, there is a great deal to be said for family gatherings. My family, for one, gives a real example of that reasoning every day.
I hope and pray that when I am old, gray and alone, I will always remember these would be a great shame to miss all the memories ~ and all those family gatherings.

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